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High Speed 1 fire inquest begins

An inquest will begin today into the deaths of two railwaymen killed when fire ripped through a section of the Channel Tunnel rail link when it was under construction more than five years ago.

Douglas Lynch, 50, from the Folkestone area of Kent, received severe burns in the blaze which broke out on a maintenance locomotive in Swanscombe, Kent, on 16 August 2005.

Lynch was treated for his injuries at the Broomfield Burns Unit in Chelmsford, Essex, but died four days later.

Another construction worker, Darren Brown, from Manchester, died at the scene despite 50 firefighters tackling the fire which started 1.2km into a tunnel on the line as it was being built from Gravesend to St Pancras.

The widow of Lynch, known as Dougie, last year criticised the length of time it has taken to find out the circumstances behind his death.

“Every year we hope to get justice for Dougie and every year we are still the same as the year before,” said Denise Lynch to ITV’s Meridian Tonight

“I don’t think that nearly six years is acceptable to have to wait to get the reason why my husband was killed.”

“The reasons that I’m given every year are either that reports have not been finished by the Health and Safety Executive or that it’s difficult to get the interested parties together.”

The jury is due to be sworn in today but it is unlikely that any witnesses will give evidence until later in the week.

The three week-long inquest will be heard at Gravesend Coroner’s Court, Gravesend Adult Education, Victoria Centre, in Gravesend, Kent.

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